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Execution of decree against dead person: An analysis

This article shall attempt to shed light on the scope of the following with the help of certain judgments propounding on its applicability; ex-parte judgments and its implication in light of two scenarios, namely: 1) where the party is unaware of the death of the respondent, 2) willingly upholding information apropos death of a fellow respondent and subsequently disclosing it at a later stage.

Dhruv Srivastava

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The principles of natural justice provide for fairness, equality, equity and reasonableness. Article 14 of the Constitution of India provides for right to equality and anything which clearly vitiates the basic fundamental principle envisaged in Art. 14 shall be held anachronistic to that effect. The procedure involved shall be fair, just and reasonable. In a case of death of a party in a suit, the courts find it challenging and difficult to arrive at decision without hearing both the parties in dispute. There can be no judgment, decree or a court order against a dead person. However, there have been instances where judiciary had duly stepped and addressed the grey areas apropos execution of a decree against a dead person. The article will illuminate on the less explored aspect of the general principles surrounding the execution of a decree against a dead person. There have been some significant development in this regard, however, it is still an half known fact by majority of people. This article will cover the rule of law propounded by the judiciary in landmark cases which shall efficaciously simplify the principles surrounding the topic. This article shall also attempt to shed some light on the scope of the following with the help of certain judgments propounding on its applicability; ex-parte judgments and its implication in light of two scenario, namely: 1) where the party is unaware of the death of the respondent, 2) willingly upholding information apropos death of a fellow respondent and subsequently disclosing it at a later stage.

JUDICIAL DICTUMS

Much of the controversy vis-à-vis execution of a decree against a dead person has been propounded upon. The canonical principle is that a decree so passed by the court antagonistic towards a dead person is a nullity. One might wonder as to why such preclusion, It’s obvious that a judge while applying his judicial mind has to look at the bigger picture. A dead person cannot speak, so passing of a decree without efficaciously listening to both the partied will be construed as unlawful and hence a degree passed against a person is a nullity (Gurnam Singh and Ors v. Gurbachan Kaur, AIR 2017 SC 2419). Justice Singhal in N. Jayaram Reddi and Another v. Revenue Divisional Officer, Karnal ((1979) 3 SCC 578)while dealing with the question posed as to why a decree against a dead person is a nullity and if it’s a nullity for all purposes observed a decree against a dead person is treated as nullity because it cannot be allowed to operate against his legal representatives when he was never brought on record to defend the case. While the law treats such a decree as a nullity but will abide by it as it stands, or as it may be modified thereafter on appeal. One can assume from the observation above that a legal representative cannot be held accountable if the said person was never brought on record. The said observation is astute in its finding as it clearly lays down some clarity surrounding the topic. Justice Singhal was right to observe the aforementioned position and it has been quite beneficial in later pronouncement.

The important questions which arise from the aforementioned judgments are whether there are any grounds for questioning such decree and if so when can it be questioned. If the certain question is left unanswered then it will give rise more lis pendens which shall again hamper the basic norms of justice.

The Supreme Court in Hira Lal v Kali Nath (AIR 1962 SC 199), held some grounds on which a decree can be challenged. They are as follows:

When a court lacks inherent jurisdiction

At the time of initiation of suit, or a decree passed, the defendant was already dead.

Any other ground rendering the court jurisdiction less in respect of the subject matter.

The third reasoning in my opinion widens the scope of inspection by court and some might use it for ill means by filing unnecessary suit but the said ground also provides scope for the people who are left remediless and do not fall under the first two grounds. Another fundamental principle laid down in this case was that where a decree is passed in ignorance of death of the sole appellant, the decree still would be a nullity.

The Supreme Court in Kiran Singh v. Chaman Paswan (AIR 1954 SC 340) laid down a very rudimentary principle. The majority judgment was delivered by Justice Venkatarama Ayyar who laid down the following radical principle:

“6……. It is a fundamental principle well established that a decree passed by a court without jurisdiction is a nullity, and that its invalidity could be set up whenever and wherever it is sought to be enforced or relied upon, even at the stage of execution and even in collateral proceedings. A defect of jurisdiction, whether it is pecuniary or territorial, or whether it is in respect of the subject-matter of the action, strikes at the very authority of the court to pass any decree, and such a defect cannot be cured even by consent of the parties.”

The aforementioned decision was relied upon in a few judgments over the year. The decision was further explained apropos jurisdiction in the case of Sneh Lata Goel v. Pushplata and Others (2019 SCC Online SC 45).It was explained that the Kiran Singh Case (Supra) holds that an objection to territorial jurisdiction and pecuniary jurisdiction is different from an objection to jurisdiction over subject matter. An objection to the want of jurisdiction does not travel to the root of or to the inherent lack of jurisdiction of a civil court to entertain the suit.

DECREE IN FAVOUR OF A DEAD PERSON

Another question which arises is if a decree against a dead person is a nullity, will a judgment in favor of a dead person be a nullity? One would assume it not to be as it might be construed to be a non-detrimental in nature, as no harm is being done to the legal representatives of the dead person. However, that is not the case. In order to for the legal representatives to successfully enjoy the judgment in their favor, they have to be brought on record. If a judgment is passed in favor of the dead party, where the person died during the proceedings and where the legal representatives were not brought on record, then in those cases the decree would be a nullity. In conclusion any decree passed in ignorance of the death of a sole appellant the decree evidently would be a nullity and any decree passed in favor of a sole appellant is a nullity. It stands on the same footing as that of a decree against a dead person. (SC Srivastava v. Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Case No. A/239/2016.)

EX-PARTE AWARD AGAINST A DEAD PERSON: VALIDITY?

There were initially two meanings of an ex-parte award. One being ex-parte merely means in the absence of the other party and the other being that the court are at liberty to proceed with the proceeding without the defendant unless a proper cause is shown for his non-appearance. The former view was accepted by the Supreme Court in Sangram Singh v. Election Tribunal, Kotah (AIR 1955 SC 425).

A decree against a dead person is by all means a nullity. However, one might wonder the validity of an ex-parte award against a dead person. From the aforementioned opinions it can be said that an ex-parte award is passed where the other party fails to show up during the proceedings and a decree is then passed against them. A proceeding stands abated if a sole party to the proceeding dies or where the legal representatives of the parties are not impleaded or brought on record. Now the question arises would an appeal stand abated if an ex-parte award is passed against a dead person. Normally, one would assume yes, but however the position taken up in Ayyappan Pillai & Ors. v. Raveendranathan (1998 SCC Online Ker 222).which reiterated the position laid down in Bhagirath Mal v. Bhagwan Dutt (AIR 1996 Rajasthan 27).The relevant excerpt of the decision is presented below:

“17. The Rajasthan High Court in Bhagirath Mal v. Bhagwan Dutt (AIR 1996 Rajasthan 27) held that decree passed against a dead person is not a nullity when deceased defendant had not filed written statement and had not made legal appearance during pendency of the trial and in fact the trial has proceeded against him ex-parte. The appeal against such decree cannot also be dismissed for not bringing legal representatives of deceased on record.”

The reasoning which can be derived from the aforementioned Bhagirath Case is that if an advocate continues representing a client after his death and fails to inform the same to the court and an award is passed ex-parte, in those circumstances the decree passed would not be a nullity. If there is a death of one of the pro forma respondents, in this regard Supreme Court in the case of Kanhaiyalal v. Rameshwar (AIR 1983 SC 503), held that wherein there is a death of one of the pro forma respondent and there is foundering in terms of bringing the legal representatives on record in time, then such a scenario would not lead to abatement. In order to accelerate the process, the Courts have the liberty to pursue the proceedings wherein the party failed to bring the legal representatives on record (Sushil K. Chakravarty v. Tej Properties Private Ltd., (2013) 9 SCC 642). Where the court proceeds with the case of ignorance of the fact of death of a person and passes a decree, that decree cannot be treated as a nullity (Jarnail Singh v. Saudagar Singh, 2003 (3) RCR (Civil)).

APPROPRIATE STAGE FOR DISCLOSING THE INFORMATION

The legal representative appearing for the party in a suit must disclose the information of the death the party the moment it becomes privy to him and then intimate the other party. This was the rule laid down in the case of Gangadhar v. Shri Raj Kumar (AIR 1983 SC 1202).It’s incumbent on the advocate pleading on behalf of the deceased to inform the court and responding party about the death of the party. Another basic principle elucidated in the case of Abdul Azeez Sahib v. Chanabagiammal (AIR 1983 MAD 5), in which Madras High Court held that a decree passed in favor of a person is not a nullity and failure to intimate the death of a party to a suit cannot be construed to be irregular and the decree is still executable.

The question now arises as to when can a person appeal or bring forth such information, what is the repercussion of withholding such information?

It was held in the case of Lachmi Narain Marwari v. Balmakund Marwari (1924 AIR (P.C.) 198), that a suit can only be dismissed at appeal; it cannot be reversed before that. Once a decree has been passed, a party incurs or acquires some liabilities or rights respectively. They stay fixed unless the decree is amended or set aside. A decree so passed might be wrong, but however, the said decree can only be set aside via congruous proceedings like appeal, revision or review.

It’s a given law that an advocate or the counsel of the deceased must provide the intimation of the deceased deaths to the court and the court to the other party. The court has the right to move forward and pass a decree if a person fails to file a written statement or fails to contest after filing. A person withholding information about a person’s death is wrong, however a party’s right should not be affected just because the other party failed to gets it legal heir or representatives impleaded Amba Bai v. Gopal ((2001) 5 SCC 570). The decree passed in ignorance of a death is not a nullity and the decree so passed shall be taken up at proper respective stages like appeal, revision or review. The most recent case to uphold this point of view is the case of B.K Basha v. Mohamed Ali (CRP NPD. 771 OF 2014) and Mahadeo Thakur and Others v. Faljit Mahto and Others (2019 SCC Online Jhar 1232), where the High Court have reiterated the long standing position apropos the execution of a decree ex-parte or otherwise and further held that a court cannot take away the right of a party except at the proper stages of appeal, revision or review.

CONCLUSION

The law against a decree against a dead person is settled. From the aforementioned cases in this article which clearly highlight the provision apropos decree against a dead person. Right to fair trial is amongst the many principles of natural justice. However, as important as is a right for a dead person, so is the right for a living. The article has focused on illuminating the settled general principles vis-à-vis decree against a dead person. The article also focused on ex-parte decision for and against a dead person and the proper stages for raising a necessary concern. The three appropriate stages mentioned for raising concerns were:

APPEAL, REVISION REVIEW

These were the three stages which have been reiterated over time. However, one would notice the stage of execution has nowhere been mentioned. In the case of Vantaku Appalanaidu v. Pedeinti Demudamma (AIR 1982 Andhra Pradesh 281) where an appellate court passed a decree without the knowledge of the death of a party. Later on, an appeal for execution was undertaken by the decree creditor, to which an objection was raised.

High Court overruled the expostulation and held the decree maintainable. A decree passed in ignorance of the death of the plaintiff is a mere irregularity; it cannot have the effect of making the decree as one without jurisdiction.

In the end I would like to conclude with an excerpt from Corpis Juris Secondum, Volume 50 at page 6:

“514. – Death of party before judgments:

A judgment rendered for or against a party after his death generally is not subject to a collateral attack, except where the action was commenced after the party had died.

Ordinarily, where jurisdiction of the parties to an action has duly attached, the fact that one of them died before the rendition of the judgment for or against him does not make a judgment absolutely void, as discussed supra 30, and, therefore, it is not open to impeachment in a collateral proceeding. According to some decisions, however, a judgment rendered under such circumstances is absolutely void, as discussed supra 30, and therefore is subject to collateral attack.

Ever where the party was dead before the institution of the suit, it has been held that this does not make the judgment a mere nullity, within the meaning of the rule against collateral impeachment, but it generally has been held that a judgment rendered in an action begun after the death of defendant therein is null and void and may be attacked collaterally.”

A decree against a dead person is by all means a nullity. However, one might wonder the validity of an ex-parte award against a dead person. From the aforementioned opinions it can be said that an ex-parte award is passed where the other party fails to show up during the proceedings and a decree is then passed against them. A proceeding stands abated if a sole party to the proceeding dies or where the legal representatives of the parties are not impleaded or brought on record.

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Legally Speaking

MP HIGH COURT SEEKS DGP’S REPLY: DOES POLICE’S FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE FULL CRIMINAL ANTECEDENTS OF ACCUSED AMOUNTS TO MISCONDUCT, INTERFERENCE WITH JUSTICE?

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The Madhya Pradesh High Court in the case Kuldeep Dohare Versus the State of Madhya Pradesh observed, recently the Gwalior bench directed the Director General of Police, State of Madhya Pradesh to file an affidavit explaining as to whether non-communication of criminal antecedents of an Applicant or Accused to the Court is a minor misconduct or if it amounts to interference with the criminal justice dispensation system. Before the next date of hearing, the affidavit is to be filled.

The bench comprising of Justice G.S. Ahluwalia observed and remarked that the court was frequently finding that the police authorities were not sending the complete criminal antecedents, in spite of the circular issued by Police Headquarters.

It was observed that the police authorities did not send the criminal antecedents of the applicant. Furthermore, it is clear that it is a clear attempt to facilitate the applicant to obtain bail by projecting that he has no criminal antecedents. The issue raised is weather the conduct of police officers can be said to be a minor negligence or it is an interference with the criminal justice dispensation system?

In the present case, the court was dealing with a bail application moved by the accused applicant for offences punishable under section 307, Section 149, section 148, section 147, section 506, section 294, section 201. On an earlier hearing, the court had observed that even though the case diary did not reflect any criminal antecedents on the part of the Applicant. The impugned order passed by the lower court rejecting his bail application mentioned otherwise.

It was observed that a reply was sought by the court from the Superintendent of Police, District Bhind as to why the important information with regard to the criminal antecedents of the Applicant were withheld by the respective SHO. The SP informed the Court on the subsequent hearing that the SHO concerned as well as the Investigating Officer in the case were found guilty of misconduct and were fined with Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 5,000, respectively.

The Court observed that since the problem was stemming from different police stations. However, the DGP should file his reply regarding the prevailing situation-

Since in different police station, this situation is prevailing. Therefore, an affidavit is directed to be filled by the DGP, State of Madhya Pradesh as to whether non- communication of criminal antecedents of an applicant is a minor misconduct or it amounts to interfere with the criminal antecedents of justice dispensation system.

Accordingly, the affidavit needs to be filled within a period of 1 week, the matter would be heard next on 08.07.2022.

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HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH: SECTION 5 OF THE LIMITATION ACT APPLIES TO ARBITRATION REFERENCE UNDER NATIONAL HIGHWAY ACT, 1956

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The High Court of Madhya Pradesh in the case Ghanshyam Gupta v. State of Madhya Pradesh and Ors observed and stated that Section 5 of the Limitation Act would be applicable to reference to arbitration under the National Highways Act, 1956.

The Division Bench comprising of Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice Purushiandra Kumar Kaurav observed and reiterated that since no limitation is provided under Section 3G (5) of the National Highways Act. The bench stated that the provisions of Article 137 of the Schedule to the Limitation Act, 1963 would apply to such proceedings.

Therefore, the court held that the limitation period for filing an appeal against the decision of the competent authority before the arbitrator from the date of expiry of 90 days is three years from the decision of the competent authority.

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The petitioner, Mr. Ghanshyam Gupta was the landowner of the land which was acquired by the Respondent, Madhya Pradesh Road Development Corporation. Thereafter, the competent authority determined the quantum of compensation payable to the petitioner and passed an award to that effect on 30.07.2015.

The petitioner being dissatisfied with the quantum of compensation determined by the competent authority. On 04.12.2019, an appeal was filled by the petitioner before the arbitrator. The appeal was dismissed by the arbitrator as time-barred filed after the expiry of three years limitation period.

the petitioner filed a writ petition before the High Court, Aggrieved by the decision of the arbitrator.

Contentions Raised by the Parties:

It is stated that Section 5 of the Limitation Act is applicable to arbitration reference under Section 3G (5) of the National Highways Act, 1956.

It was observed that the petitioner was unaware of the availability of the remedy of appeal against the decision of the competent authority, the petitioner only after consulting his lawyer, that the petitioner came to know that he could seek enhancement. Further, there is a valid ground to condone the delay.

The submissions of the petitioner were countered by the Respondent on the following grounds:

Though, in the absence of a period of limitation for filing an appeal under Section 3G (5) of the Act of 1956, it was construed that the provisions of Article 137 of the Limitation Act would stand applicable.

It was stated that Article 137 provides for 3 years period, and the petitioner filed the appeal after a delay of 4 years.

COURT ANALYSIS:

The court observed and stated that since no limitation is provided under Section 3G (5) of the National Highways Act, the provisions of Article 137 of the Schedule to the Limitation Act would apply to such proceedings.

Therefore, the court held that the limitation period for filing an appeal against the decision of the competent authority before the arbitrator from the date of expiry of 90 days is three years from the decision of the competent authority.

The court observed that there is nothing in the National Highways Act that excludes the applicability of Section 5 of the Limitation Act. However, Section 5 of the Limitation Act would be applicable to reference to arbitration under the National Highways Act, 1956 and the arbitrator has the power to condone the delay against the award, in filing an appeal by the competent authority.

The court noted that the petitioner was not aware that an appeal could be filed against the decision of the Competent Authority and it is only after consulting his lawyer that the petitioner came aware of any such right, therefore, there is sufficient reason to condone the delay.

Accordingly, the application was allowed by the court and the court directed the arbitrator to decide the case of the petitioner on merit.

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KERALA HIGH COURT APPOINTS AMICUS CURIAE IN SARITHA NAIR’S PLEA; IS A STATEMENT RECORDED U/S 164 CRPC A PUBLIC DOCUMENT?

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The Kerala High Court in the case Saritha S. Nair v. Union of India & Anr observed and appointed an amicus curia to assist the court to decide the legal question of whether a statement recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC is a public document.

The bench comprising of Justice Kauser Edappagath appointed the amicus curiae, in the petition filled by Saritha S. Nair, the prime accused in the infamous solar panel scam seeking a direction to provide her with copies of the Section 164 statement given by Swapna Suresh, the accused in the gold smuggling case.

The court appointed Advocate K.K. Dheerendrakrishnan, as the amicus curiae in the case.

In the present case, it was observed that Saritha Nair is accused of having duped several influential people to the tune of 70 lakhs, by offering to install solar power units for them or by making them business partners and by receiving advance payments for the same.

Moreover, Swapna Suresh is accused of smuggling 30 kilograms of gold through diplomatic cargo dispatched to UAE Consulate at Thiruvananthapuram.

It was observed that when the petition came up for hearing, the counsel appearing for the petitioner, Advocate B.A Aloor appearing that the statement given by Swapna was a public document and therefore the petitioner was entitled to get a copy.

Further, Nair approached the Court apprehending that certain allegation may have been brought on record against her in the statement given by Suresh. It was prayed by Nair, that the c court allow her plea, directing the production of certified copies of the said document to her, failing which she would sustain an irreparable injury, the hardship and as well as physical and mental agony.

It was observed that the Nair had had initially moved the Principal District and Sessions Court of Ernakulam, with the same request, but this was denied. The court noted and adjourned the matter to July 11, while on a petition filed by the accuse, Saritha S. Nair in the solar scam cases, for seeking a directive to provide a copy of the statement given by Swapna Suresh, accused in the diplomatic gold smuggling case before a subordinate court.

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Supreme Court issues notice in an SLP; can section 156 (3) CRPC be invoked after failing to get desired relief in a civil suit?

It was observed that before the Calcutta High Court, it was contended by the accused that the allegations made in the application under Section 156(3) CrPC fails to make out any offence against them. Further, it was submitted that a frustrated unsuccessful litigant before the Civil Court has approached the Criminal Court and the Criminal Investigation.

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The Supreme Court in the case Usha Chakraborty vs State of West Bengal observed and issued a notice in a Special Leave Petition filled, raising an issue whether in a dispute essentially in a dispute of civil nature that can a person, after having failed to get the desired relief from a civil suit, invoke Section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure?

In the present case, an FIR was registered against the accused under Sections 323, Section 384, Section 406, Section 423, Section 467, Section 468, Section 420 and Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 following an order passed by the Magistrate under Section 156(3) CrPC.

It was observed that before the Calcutta High Court, it was contended by the accused that the allegations made in the application under Section 156(3) CrPC fails to make out any offence against them. Further, it was submitted that a frustrated unsuccessful litigant before the Civil Court has approached the Criminal Court and the Criminal Investigation, which has commenced, is for the purposes of throttling them. The petition was dismissed by the High Court observing that the materials which have already been collected by the Investigating Agency, prima facie, make out a case for investigation. The issue raised before the court was weather the same would make out an offence after the investigation is concluded is absolutely at the end of the investigation to be analysed.

Therefore, challenging this order, one of the accused approached the Apex Court. However, It was submitted that the dispute is essentially of civil nature, for which the applicant in Section 156(3) CrPC petition filed a civil suit but having failed to get the desired relief, he invoked Section 156(3) CrPC.

The bench comprising of Justice Surya Kant and the Justice JB Pardiwala, while issuing notice also stayed further proceedings in FIR lodged against the accused.

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GAUHATI HIGH COURT QUASHES NO-CONFIDENCE MOTION AGAINST GRAM PANCHAYAT PRESIDENT CITING PARTICIPATION OF MEMBER DISQUALIFIED FOR HAVING THREE CHILDREN

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The Gauhati High Court in the case Jugitawali Pawe v State of Assam and 15 ors observed and quashed a resolution expressing no-confidence in the petitioner – the President of a Gram Panchayat, as a result of which she as removed from office. It was stated that it is as per the citing no compliance with Assam Panchayat Act, 1994, reading with Rule 62 of the Assam Panchayat (Constitution) Rules, 1995.

It was preferred by the petitioner to the materials available on record to argue that one of the members of the Gaon Panchayat, the respondent. The respondent voted against the petitioner and had given birth to her third child the previous year. Moreover, by virtue of Section 111(2)(a) of the Assam Panchayat Act, 1994, reading with Rule 62 of the Assam Panchayat (Constitution) Rules, 1995, the petitioner stood automatically disqualified on the date of voting. Following, which her vote was taken by passing No-confidence motion.

It was prayed by the petitioner in the plea for setting aside the impugned resolution and for issuance of a direction to restore his client back in the office. Thereafter, to initiate fresh proceedings, liberty should be granted to the respondent, following the due process.

It was agreed by the Counsel representing for the respondent that the said member of the panchayat had been disqualified but retained on the ground that the disqualification would have no bearing on the petitioner’s case, as the impugned resolution was passed before the declaration of petitioner disqualification.

In the present case, It was noticed by Justice Suman Shyam the member had voted against the petitioner and without her vote. The petitioner would not have been ousted from office. Justice Shyam also found no dispute about the fact that the member had incurred disqualification under the law prior the date of adoption of the impugned resolution. Justice Shyam found it unnecessary to delve into other aspects of the matter which includes the procedural formalities for declaring the member a disqualified candidate.

It is observed that the impugned resolution was declared to be vitiated and liable to be set aside. Further, the Court restored the petitioner to the office of the President of the Bongalmara Gaon Panchayat with immediate effect and it was stated by the court that the order will not stand in the way should the authorities or any member of the Gaon Panchayat propose a fresh motion of “no-confidence” against the petitioner and the due process of law needs to be followed.

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Halt DDA’s demolition action against jhuggis in Nizamuddin’s Gyaspur area, orders Delhi High Court

As per the JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy 2015 and the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, the residents who can establish their residence prior to 01.01.2015 are eligible for rehabilitation under the JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy 2015.

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plea in Delhi High Court seeking repatriation of 56 pregnant nurses

The Delhi High Court in the case Manoj Gupta & Ors. v. DDA & Ors observed and has ordered status quo on the Delhi Development Authority’s proposal to demolish jhuggi clusters in city’s Gyaspur area in Hazrat Nizamuddin. The vacation bench comprising of Justice Neena Bansal Krishna observed in the petition filled by the residents and the court granted an interim relief.

It was ordered by the court status quo till July 11, the next date of hearing.

The bench orally remarked that a ten-day delay in demolition won’t make a difference but if today it is demolished and later, we come to know that they were entitled, who’s going to… the bench will consider it on July 11, 2022 but in the Meanwhile, some protections are entitled them. Adding this, Status quo be maintained. If since 1995, they have been there, heavens won’t come down if for 10 more days they are protected.

In the plea the petitioner stated that the T-Huts settlement in the area, which was stated by the authorities to vacate. It has been in existence for almost two decades and compromise of 32 jhuggis or households.

In the plea it was alleged that the bulldozers have been parked around the camp and a DDA official has orally asked them to vacate the area and it is noted that till date no proper notice have been sent to them nor has DDA conducted any survey of the area.

Furthermore, the DDA did not provide any alternate arrangement for their rehabilitation which resulted in extreme distress among the residents.

Moreover, it was admitted by the petitioner that the land in question belongs to DDA and they may seek that status-quo to be maintained at the site. It was urged that the residents should not be physically dispose or evicted from the demolition site until the survey is conducted and rehabilitation is provided to the residents as per the DUSIB policy of 2015.

As per the JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy 2015 and the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board. The residents who can establish their residence prior to 01.01.2015 are eligible for rehabilitation under the JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy 2015.

It is observed that in the case Ajay Maken v. Union of India, Reliance is placed on the Supreme Court decision and the High Court decision in the case Sudama Singh & Ors. v. Government of Delhi & Anr, it was held in the case that that removal of jhuggis without ensuring relocation would amount of gross violation of Fundamental Rights under Article 21 of the Constitution. Further, it was held that the agencies conducting the demolitions ought to conduct survey before undertaking any demolition.

It is submitted that these observations would apply across the board, in the entire NCT of Delhi.

Advocates Vrinda Bhandari, Shiyaz Razaq, Kaoliangpou Kamei, Jepi Y Chisho and Paul Kumar Kalai, represented the petitioner.

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